The world of cricket witnessed the most sensational end to a World Cup ever as England defeated New Zealand during an unprecedented Super Over.
During a nervy run chase, Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler steadied the ship with a pivotal century partnership. Yet late wickets seemed to put England out of touch with the 242 target before an incredible final over.
With 15 required from six balls, Trent Boult bowled two dots as Stokes farmed the strike. A six gave England hope before a remarkable fourth ball of the over went for two before deflecting off the diving Stokes’ bat for another four.
As tears filled the eyes of several New Zealand players, England looked set to pick off the last three runs required but could only manage two as the tie took the game to a Super Over.
Super Over history
A clearly shattered Stokes returned to the crease with Buttler as they faced Boult again. Running hard but struggling to find boundaries, a vital four off the last ball took them to 15.
In response, Jimmy Neesham came to the crease with Martin Guptill knowing that they must reach 16 against Jofra Archer to win the World Cup. Neesham, a surprise inclusion for the Super Over, smashed a maximum to put New Zealand seemingly on their way but Archer tightened up his bowling after a wide to start the spell.
As was the case for England in 50 overs, New Zealand were left needing three from two but they fell a matter of yards from winning the World Cup as Buttler took off the bails with New Zealand a run short.
Bowlers on top
England went into the showpiece contest as heavy favourites and New Zealand struggled with the moving ball under the clouds despite electing to bat.
A poor World Cup for Guptill continued as he fell for less than 20 oncemore but captain Kane Williamson came to the rescue again as he edged New Zealand past 100 with Henry Nicholls who top-scored with 55.
Yet it was the dismissal of Williamson at 103-2 that tempted regular wickets for England’s seam attack. Archer and Liam Plunkett took three apiece as New Zealand made just another 137 runs in their final 27 overs.
62 off the final ten suggested the pitch was a tough batting track but their score of 241-8 appeared below par.
England were either going to smash the target out of the park or stumble close to the modest total but the nerves started to build when the openers struggled.
Jason Roy, a key figure for England, departed for 17 before Joe Root lashed at a wide ball and Jonny Bairstow played on after a couple of near misses. When Lockie Ferguson took an outstanding diving catch to dismiss Eoin Morgan, England were 86-4 midway through their overs with the run rate creeping up.
Yet Buttler and Stokes each reached half centuries as they put on 110 from 130 deliveries. However, the dismissal of the former seemed to tip the pendulum in favour of New Zealand.
As wickets tumbled to Ferguson and Neesham, along with two late run outs, the tension turned to drama with the thrilling final over that took the game to a Super Over.
Yet it was England who held firm to win their first ever World Cup in their fourth final, against a New Zealand team who must feel desperately unlucky despite a relatively lacklustre tournament.